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Big Bluestem Flyer

Newsletter of the Big Bluestem Audubon Society

Volume 40, Number 5 May/June 2005

Programs Field Trips

May 19
Peterson Pits and the Skunk River
“Grassland Birds in Restored Prairie”
Tracy is a Graduate Student in the Dept. of
Natural Resource Ecology and Management at
ISU. May 7
She will present her studies of prairie restoration Bird-a-thon (see P. 6)
on habitat use by grassland birds at The Nature
Conservancy’s Broken Kettle Grasslands Preserve June 4
in the northern Loess Hills in 2003-04. Tracy looked Birder’s Brunch at Ledges State Park
at four management treatments: burning, After a bird hike in the park, we will share
grazing, grazing and burning recent (post-spring
a light pot-luck brunch in the lower area of
2001), and grazing and burning older (pre-spring
the park.
2001) prairies. In addition to studying relative
abundance and nesting success, she examined
the nest site selection of common grassland

Program meetings are held monthly, September-May on Unless otherwise indicated, field trips leave promptly at
the third Thursday of the month at 7:30 pm, Room 8:00 a.m. from the public parking lot west of (behind)
2226 Veterinary Medicine Building, Iowa State the Ames Wild Birds Unlimited, located south of the
University, Ames, Iowa. railroad tracks at 213 Duff Ave. Trip destinations are
subject to change based on recent bird sightings and the
If you would like to meet and dine with the speaker and
desires of the participants. Contact Jeff Nichols at 515-
the BBAS Board before the monthly meeting, please
795-4176, for more information.
contact Lynne Brookes to confirm space and location at

In This Issue

Page 2 Officers and Committees Page 5 White Rock Conservancy

President’s Column Ada Hayden Program
Page 3 Eula Hagie Award Page 6 Birdathon
Page 4 Field Trip Reports Young Naturalists Program
Rummage Sale Report Page 7 Membership Form
Birding With A Purpose Coupons
Page 8 Birding Site Sights
President’s Column
While sorting through some paperwork the other day, I found the following I’d received from another WBU
storeowner and thought I’d share with you.
You are a birder if:
Someone yells “Duck!”, and you look up and shout “Where?”
Vacations are planned to maximize the number of life birds.
You criticize television programs and commercials that depict a bald eagle but play a red-tailed hawk call.
Your kids are named Buteo and Accipiter.
People stop and stare when you pish at the shrubbery at the local mall.
Lunch breaks find you driving to check out your favorite hot spot.
Your spouse says, “it’s either me or the birds”, and you have to think about it.
On sunny days you hop in the car, crank up your tape of bird calls, and drive like crazy to the nearest mountain
where the thermals are great for soaring hawks.
You pay a neighbor kid $20 to roll on a carcass and lay still while you search the sky for vultures.
You try to talk your kid into going to college in Belize so that you can have an excuse to go and bird there.
It’s a northeaster, the rain is horizontal, a small craft advisory has been issued, but its birdathon and you need
to up the day’s list.
Clouds take the shape of birds, and you can distinguish male from female, and adult from immature plumage.
A machine squeaks at work and you describe it to maintenance as sounding like a black-and-white warbler.
The first time you meet your future in-laws, you demonstrate the courtship dance of the woodcock, replete with
sound effects.
You spend fifteen minutes preparing dinner for your family and thirty minutes mixing and placing the seed for
your birds.
Preparing for trips to visit out-of-state relatives involves contacting local birders, securing local bird lists, and
buying the appropriate Lane’s Guide.
You identify calls of birds in the soundtracks of television shows and movies.
You’re willing to fight anyone who criticizes your optics.
You participate in hours-long discussions about the pros and cons of using a certain field guide.
You lose friends, and perhaps even your spouse, from fighting over the pronunciation of “pileated”.
Answering “yes” to any of these questions qualifies you as a birder.
This probably made you chuckle. I hope that it will encourage you to participate in our upcoming Birdathon, our
major fundraiser, and other opportunities that may arise to interest others in this great activity and support bird
Linda Thomas

Big Bluestem Audubon Society

Officers and Committees
President: Linda Thomas 292-7534
Vice-President: Lynne Brookes 434-2028 Committee Chairs
Secretary: Bruce Ehresman 296-2995 Archivist: Hank Zaletel 382-427 Bird-a-thon Co-chairs: Karl and Carmen Jungbluth, 432-5057
Treasurer: Ed Carbrey 292-2404
Board Members Conservation Chair: Bruce Ehresman (See Officers)
Breanne Marpe 432-1231 Education Chair: Amy Yoakum, 232-2516
Jeff: Nichols 795-4176
Royce Bitzer 233-6741 Field Trip Chair: Jeff Nichols (See Officers)
Wolfgang Oesterreich 232-3285 (h) Membership Chair: Jon Bahrenfus 275-3263
Tim Grotheer 233-9873 Program Chair: Lynne Brookes (See Officers)
Publicity Chair: Linda Thomas (See Officers)
The mission of the Big Bluestem Audubon Society is to
Publications & Electronic Media Co-Chairs:
enjoy the observation and study of birds and natural David Edwards 292-3790
ecosystems, contribute to their conservation and Joyce Bahrenfus 275-3263
restoration, engage in educational activities to benefit
humanity, and gain a broader understanding and deeper BBAS Web Site:
appreciation of the world we live in.

2 Big Bluestem Flyer May/June 2005

Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation—Eula Hagie Heritage Award

The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation invites you and your members to nominate an outstanding
Iowa conservationist for the 2005 Lawrence and Eula Hagie Heritage Award. We are seeking
nominees who have demonstrated extraordinary personal service and commitment to improving the
quality of Iowa's natural environment, while encouraging others to do the same. The process is easy,
but hurry--the nomination deadline is May 27, 2005!

The prestigious Hagie Heritage Award, administered by INHF, is one of Iowa's largest awards recognizing
environment-minded individuals. Past winners include people who encourage energy conservation, provide
environmental education, initiate and support county conservation projects, restore wildlife habitat on their own or
on public property, and/or enthusiastically speak for Iowa's natural treasures.

The award's recipient is presented with a $1,000 prize and a hand-carved sculpture recognizing their
achievements. All nominees will receive a certificate of nomination and INHF will produce a press release about
each nomination. Through this press coverage of your nominee, the organizations and projects in which they are
involved will gain positive media exposure—and that makes everyone a winner.

To nominate an individual, please submit two letters of recommendation from different sources. The letters
should detail what the nominee has done for Iowa's natural heritage and how the nominee has encouraged others
to protect natural resources. Most award winners have been volunteers; however, conservation professionals are
eligible for the award as long as the nomination is based on activities beyond their regular job description and
duties. Posthumous and self-nominations will not be accepted. A nomination by a family member is permitted if
accompanied by two non-family nominations. Please include the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the
nominee and nominators.

For nominating tips, guidelines, a model nomination letter outline, descriptions of previous winners and other
information, visit the INHF website at or call (800) 475-1846 for a printed copy.
Please send all correspondence and questions to Cathy Engstrom at the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, 505
Fifth Avenue, Suite 444, Des Moines IA 50309-2321, or via email at All nominations must be
received at this address by May 28, 2004.
Nic Young, INHF Buckmaster Communications Intern

Teaming With Wildlife Coalition Support

Your help is once again needed to encourage our legislators to support the State Wildlife Grant Program (SWG).
Last year, Senator Harkin and Congressmen Leach and Boswell signed on to Dear Colleague letters requesting
$100 million for this federal funding. Senator Grassley wrote an independent letter asking for $80 million. So far,
only Congressman Boswell has signed on to this year's Dear Colleague letter requesting $85 million. Please thank
these legislators for their past support and encourage them to sign on to this year's Dear Colleague letter.
For those legislators who do not wish to sign on to a letter, please encourage them to, at least, support the
President's budget of $74 million for SWG funding. Legislative contact information also is attached.
The best argument for SWG is that we can use this money up front to keep species off the endangered species
list. That federal program is now costing us $600 million/year and has increased six fold in the last ten years. We
can pay a little now to keep species common or a lot more later when we try to bring species back from the verge of
See the Teaming With Wildlife: State Wildlife Grants website at
state_wildlife_grants.htm. Thanks for helping promote this very important funding program for wildlife!
Bruce Ehresman

May/June 2005 Big Bluestem Flyer 3

Field Trip reports
February 26, 2005 Early Spring Waterfowl
This field trip was joined by a group of faculty and students from Drake as part of their Field Ornithology class.
The day was clear but cool. Overall waterfowl numbers and diversity weren’t very high, but many geese were on
the move, especially in the early morning. We first hiked the trail around Ada Hayden Park, where we found a
Northern Shrike and singing Eastern Bluebirds. Quick stops at Little Wall Lake and Anderson/Goose Lake
brought our trip list to 25 species.

March 26, 2005 Birding Story, Marshall, Hardin, Hamilton and Story Counties
Waterfowl were abundant on this late March field trip. We began and ended our day at Ada Hayden Park after
stops at Colo Ponds, Hendrickson Marsh, Meier Wildlife Refuge, Anderson/Goose Lake, and Little Wall Lake. We
found 57 species including Ross’s, Snow, Canada, and Greater White-fronted Geese, 18 duck species, two Horned
Grebes, Rusty Blackbirds, and a lone Eurasian Collared-Dove east of Ames. We also enjoyed a nice lunch at
historic Niland’s Cafe in Colo.
Jeff Nichols

Big Bluestem Audubon Society Rummage Sale Report (April 9)

This year’s BBAS Rummage Sale generated $461.60 for the Big Bluestem chapter. Many people helped make
this activity a success. I would like to thank everyone who donated items for the sale. I especially want to thank
those who generously volunteered their time or resources: Jon Bahrenfus, Royce Bitzer, Mary Doud, Sherry
Dragula, Dave Edwards, Jeanne Edwards, Al Johnson, Ida Johnson, Carmen Jungbluth, Karl Jungbluth, Wolfgang
Oesterreich, Linda Thomas, Tom Thomas, and Mark Widrlechner! And finally, thanks to the DNR State Forest
Nursery for letting us use their facilities.
Jeff Nichols

Birding with a Purpose

Here are three ways to use your birding skills to forward bird conservation, and have fun at the same time. I call it “Birding with a
Purpose.” It’s an added dimension to birding that goes beyond just birding for the joy of it, chasing rarities, or hoping to turn up that
first new arrival of the season.
What can beat guilt free all-day birding with friends, spirited competition, and raising money for a great cause
like the projects of Big Bluestem Audubon Society? Not much! Birdathon is May 7th, and there is still time to form
a team, or donate to a team. Our teams need more sponsors to keep them going through the rain, sun, heat, wind
and cold. Contact me, Karl Jungbluth, for more information.
Important Bird Area (IBA) Surveys
Iowa Audubon’s IBA program is designed to identify areas essential to birds, monitor bird populations on those
areas and conserve their natural habitats. Bird watchers are needed to record bird species data at designated or
proposed IBAs. That could be you! Surveys are especially needed in woodland and grassland habitats. Here is a
list of great places nearby where you could “Bird with a Purpose” for the IBA program. Contact me, or Ric Zarwell,
IBA Coordinator through the IBA website:
Hendrickson Marsh Colo Ponds Wetland complex
Ada Hayden Heritage Park Ledges State Park
Boone Forks Wildlife Area- Hamilton County Bjorkboda Marsh- Hamilton County
Snake Creek Marsh- Greene County Goose Lake- Green County
Paul Errington Marsh- Polk County
Prairie Creek Wildlife Refuge (the Kurtz’s)- Marshall County
Des Moines River Corridor- Y camp to Holst Forest- Boone County

Whiterock Conservancy Bird Surveys

The Garst family has set aside a 5000 acre nature preserve near Coon Rapids, 75 miles west of Ames. Their goal is
to preserve the natural resource, and they are starting with birds! Bird watchers are needed to compile a
comprehensive species list, and conduct more detailed point surveys on the property. It’s a beautiful spot to hike
and birdwatch. See their information on the next page of this newsletter.
Karl Jungbluth

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White Rock Conservancy Bird Survey

The bird survey is an initial effort to survey the abundance and diversity of plants and animals at the White
Rock Conservancy (WRC), approximately 5000 acres of woodland, prairie, and mixed agricultural land located
along the Middle Raccoon River, southeast of Coon Rapids Iowa. A survey will be important to establishing
baseline data that will be used to plan activities such as prairie savanna restoration, managed burning and
grazing, and ecotourism opportunities.
Volunteer observers will play a very large role in the survey, with coordination provided by Kay Neumann
(SOAR), William Clark, (Iowa State University), and Karl Jungbluth (Iowa Audubon Society). Kay Neumann will
coordinate the names, addresses, and vehicle identification of the volunteers.

The initial bird survey has two main goals, a) complete a checklist of the birds seen on the WRC, and b) establish
and test more quantitative bird survey methods that can be continued in standardized fashion into the future.

General surveys for the checklist

Volunteer observers will use the Field Checklist of Iowa Birds (Iowa Ornithologists’ Union) as the principle
guideline for records. Volunteers should keep a field notebook that includes their name, the date, start and end
time of observations, location and primary habitat type, weather (estimate of temperature and wind), and the
species seen. Additional notes about abundance of the species and habitat associations will be valuable for
developing a birding guide. A simple way to provide this information will be to use copies of the IOU checklist.

Volunteers are encouraged to visit as many times as practical between now and next February.

Ada Hayden Heritage Park Program

Big Bluestem member Janet Jepeway will lead a nature photo shoot at Ada Hayden Heritage Park (AHHP) on
Thurs, May 12, 2005. This will be the May program for Ames Camera Club (ACC) and Big Bluestem Audubon
members are welcome to attend.
Many of the places in AHHP that are good for photography are also good for birding.

Janet is the Director of the Hallett’s/Hayden Project. The ongoing project is a partnership with Ames Historical
Society to photo document the transition of the former Hallett’s Quarry to Ada Hayden Heritage Park. She has
photographed on this project for over 3 years and taken over 1,500 pictures and slides. Janet will share what she
has learned about photographing at the park and also the process of locating support for this enormous project.

There will be a “meet-the-speaker” dinner at the Flame and Skewer restaurant, North Grand Mall at 5:00pm,
followed by the club meeting/nature photo shoot at Ada Hayden Heritage Park.

The program will start approximately at 6:15pm at the southwest parking lot of AHHP. This lot can be reached
by driving thru Stone Brooke or via Hyde Road.
Dress for the weather, walking, and bring your camera and/or binoculars/spotting scopes.

Please RSVP to ACC President, Kathy Vannoy, by phone: 515-233-6545 or e-mail: by noon,
Tuesday, May 10, if you are coming for dinner.

In case of inclement weather, the dinner will still be at 5pm, but the program will be held at the Ames Public
Library in the Community Room on the 2nd floor at 7pm.
Janet Jepeway

Newsletter Material Deadlines

Because we would like to have the newsletter to each member before the first day of its coverage, the editor
needs to have material at least two weeks before that. Hence the deadline for the next issue will be the
fifteenth of August.
Please be aware that editing your offering for length and style is sometimes necessary.

May/June 2005 Big Bluestem Flyer 5

Audubon Birdathon
May 7, 2005
The annual Birdathon is Big Bluestem Audubon’s main fundraising event. It’s like a walkathon,
except we count birds to raise funds for birds.
Even if you can’t tell a Bittern from a Bobolink, you can learn. It’s all for a worthy cause. Birdathon
participants spend all day, or just a few hours. Try it!


OTHERS OR FORM A TEAM? How Does it Work?
COORDINATORS 1. Audubon Birdathon is a national team
2. Birders collect pledges from donors to
support Audubon efforts. Ask relatives,
We need ALL chapter members friends, neighbors, co-workers to pledge a
fixed amount of $10, 20, or $50, or ask them
to support this effort! to pledge an amount per species identified.
We usually see 50 to 100+ species.
• Collect at least $20 in pledges, and join
us on May 10th. Use the form on the 3. Sign up by contacting the Birdathon
reverse side.
• If you can’t join the Birdathon, support 4. Prizes and incentives: Non-members who
us by sponsoring the chapter effort. pledge $20 or more get a complimentary
Audubon membership. Everyone is eligible to
Send your donation, payable to Big win prizes– bird feeders, bird books, T-shirts,
Bluestem Audubon to Ed Carbrey, binoculars– good stuff from local businesses
Treasurer, 3313 Morningside St, Ames, and national sponsors.
IA 50014 5. On May 8th, head to your favorite birding
spot. Count as many species as you can.
Birdathon! TM is a Trademark of the Have fun!
National Audubon Society

Young Naturalist Workshop Scholarships

Big Bluestem Audubon Society is pleased to announce it is offering three scholarships for $275.00 to
the Young Naturalist Workshop at the Des Moines YMCA Camp. This week long camp is targeted at
students leaving 5th or 6th grades who love science and nature. Participants will be immersed in
nature experiences taught by naturalists and conservation professionals. The camp will be August 7-13
at the Y-Camp north of Boone. Campers will be responsible for a small registration fee that the
scholarship does not cover. For more information please contact:
Amy Yoakum
Big Bluestem Education Committee
56461 180th Street
Ames, Iowa 50010-9451.
Amy Yoakum

6 Big Bluestem Flyer May/June 2005

New Members
Clip and Join
Jeff Anderson Boone Don’t forget gift memberships!
Hobart Beeghly Ames
Adrian Benett Ames
Barbara Caldwell Ames
Membership Application forms
Rose Danaher Ames
New member of the National Audubon Society. You will
Andrew Hug Ames
Dr. and Mrs. R. Lewis Ames
receive the Audubon magazine, the Big Bluestem Flyer,
Mrs. Helen Mc Roberts Woodward membership card. — $20
Carl Nelson Ames Please make your check payable to National Audubon
Eugene Olson Ames Society and include “Chapter Code H-57” on the check
Donald Payer Ames OR
Mr. & Mrs. Charles Radke Grand Junct.
Stephen Ringlee Ames Subscribe to the Big Bluestem Flyer for one year and
Ed Rood Cambridge participate in some Big Bluestem Society Activities — $10
Wanda Schnurr Webster City Restrictions are that you will not be a National Audubon Society
Greg Simmer Perry member or have voting privileges, and you cannot be an officer or
Bernadine Solberg Boone committee chair. Please make your check payable to Big Bluestem
Audubon Society.

Send your check and this coupon to

Jon Bahrenfus, Membership Chair
1050 J Ave, Ogden, IA 50212

Name _______________________________________________
Address _____________________________________________
City_____________________ State____ ZIP_______________
Phone ________________ E-mail _______________________
Please do not use this form for renewals to the National Audubon Soc.

Present the coupons below at the time of your purchase and a donation will be given to BBAS.
Donations will fund the various habitat restoration and educational projects undertaken by BBAS.

Brekke's Town & Country Store, Inc.

Donate 10% 1 1/2 miles east of I-35 on new U.S. 30 and 1/4 mile north
of Your Next Hours: 8-6 M-F, 8-4 Sat. (515) 232-7906
Purchase to
Purchase Donation
Big Bluestem Audubon Society Up tp $15 $1.50
Coupon must be presented at time of purchase $15 and over $3.00
May not be combined with any other offer
Not valid on specially-priced merchandise
$35 and over $5.00
Over $70 $7.50
Offer Expires: 06-30-05
Brekke’s offers Big Bluestem Audubon Society a donation
when bird seed or other bird products are purchased.
Present this coupon with your purchase and a donation will be
given to BBAS.
213 Duff Ave. Ames, IA 50010 (515) 956-3145
Mon-Wed 9:30-5:30 Thurs 9:30-8
Fri 9:30-5:30 Sat 9-5 Sun 12-4 Offer good until June 30, 2005

May/June 2005 Big Bluestem Flyer 7

Non-Profit Org.
Big Bluestem Flyer U. S. Postage Paid
David C. Edwards, Editor Permit No. 131
Big Bluestem Audubon Society Ames, Iowa
2308 State Ave
Ames, IA 50014
We welcome new members!
If you have an “X”
after your name on
your mailing label,
this will be your last
issue of the Flyer
unless you renew.
May/June 2005 Printed on Recycled paper Vol 40 No. 5
If you can’t think of where the pictures were taken, look at our website at
Rather Difficult Pretty Easy
Where on your birding walks did you see these?
Birding Site Sights